Chocolate is the answer. Whether you’re having a bad day or want to celebrate a milestone, a few moments of just desserts can be the perfect way to compliment your day. Serving up artisan chocolate from around the world, gelato, pastries, brownies, cookies and scones, the Ashamalla family has built a dual-location mecca for chocolate lovers in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, California.
When Chef Candace Orr, her brother Shawn, and parents Denise and Mike began an online chocolate education venture, they stumbled upon a sweet business model. Starting as worldwide chocolate importers, the foursome grew their passion for cocoa when they realized California consumers had an appreciation for more than just milk chocolate. A year later, Tifa Chocolate & Gelato was born in Agoura Hills, where they opened their first of two locations in April 2008. The family began by telling the story of chocolate – how its aroma, notes and flavors are as nuanced as those of a fine bottle of wine. And just like wine, weather, soil and plants affect the complex characteristics of a fine chocolate. Today, the entire family welcomes chocolate lovers to learn and indulge in flavor combinations unlike any other – guilt free, of course.
One of Mike Ashamalla’s favorite things about managing Tifa Chocolate & Gelato is experiencing the touchstone moments of his customers’ lives. Whether celebrating a birthday, graduation or wedding, chocolate is often a cornerstone of these experiences. Even when someone is having a bad day, chocolate evokes a smile and can help turn things around. Yet, the cumbersome task of inputting daily sales information into his accounting software meant that he was losing time he could spend with his customers and family. Mike spent at least an hour and a half each day – more than 10 hours a week – on the books manually entering data into Xero from a spreadsheet each night.